Calgary Roller Derby Association
Are you interested in a fast-paced, strategic game that welcomes anyone in like family? If so, roller derby is for you.
Roller derby is played indoors on concrete, wood and sport court floors in community centres, gyms and in hockey arenas when the ice is out for the season. The players skate counter clockwise on a track marked out by rope and tape, as opposed to on a banked track that is popular on TV. The Calgary Roller Derby Association (CRDA) plays flat track roller derby according to the rules set by the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association
Roller derby is played by two teams of fourteen players each. Five members of each team skate on the track at a time. Each roller derby game is 60 minutes, made of two 30-minute periods that are further broken down into two-minute jams. Jams are plays that last up to two minutes. During a jam, points are scored when the jammer (fast skater with a star on their helmet) laps members of the opposing team. The other four skaters block the opposite team’s jammer, making it harder to score points.
The CRDA was founded in June 2006 by four women who wanted to bring the sport of roller derby to Calgary. The club now has five teams, including an all-star team, that compete around the country at games against other leagues. The newest addition to the CRDA is its junior program for kids ages 6 to 17. It will be a unisex program with three levels determining the amount of contact allowed in games, from no contact to leaning to full contact within league rules. “This sport is for kids who are looking to try something different,” says Alexandra Phillips (aka Sailor Moonshine), skater, coach and member of the board of directors, “and makes them a member of a community where it is okay to be yourself.”
Although roller derby is a contact sport, there are rules in place (similar to hockey) that keep the skaters safe. There is no hitting from behind, no using elbows or forearms and all contact must be between the shoulders and knees. Knee/elbow pads, wrist/mouth guards and helmets are mandatory for skaters to participate in a game.
Roller derby is inclusive, welcoming, empowering and creates life-long friendships. “For me, I joined roller derby as an escape and to have something that was just for me. Being on a roller derby team is like getting a second family that accepts and supports you no matter what,” states Andi Jonsson (aka Andi Linquent), retired skater, coach and member of the Calgary Junior Roller Derby Committee.
The CRDA is non-profit and is run by the skaters for the skaters. One of the challenges that the CRDA faces is the lack of funding. The skaters participate in any fundraisers they can, from selling 50/50 tickets at hockey games to highway garbage cleanup. Staying competitive and promoting the club – all while renting a practice space – can be expensive, but the CRDA continues to successfully practice out of the West Hillhurst community centre and compete at Triwood Arena.